Dr Stephen Grimes
Associate Head of School - Education and Student Experience
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)
- Stable isotope geochemistry
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SoGEES Associate Head of School - Education & Student Experience
Oct. 1991 – June 1994: Obtained a 2:1 BSc Honours degree in Geochemistry at the University of St. Andrews on the 7/7/1994. During my degree I spent 2 months conducting my 3rd year undergraduate fieldwork project on the South Rurie Carbonatite Complex in western Kenya.
Sept. 1994 – Jan. 1998: Obtained a PhD from Cardiff University on the 14/7/1998. The thesis title was "Studies of geothermal systems, Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand". The work was supervised by Prof. Rickard and showed for the first time how U-series dating of calcite could be used to constrain the age of geothermal alteration (Grimes et al. 1998). Additional work using strontium isotopes as a tool to understand alteration styles within geothermal fields (Grimes et al. 2000) and a study of unique sulphur mounds at the Wiotapu geothermal system explained their process of formation (Grimes et al. 1999).
Jan. 1998 – Jan. 2000: NERC Post Doctorate Research Associate at Cardiff University. The title of the research was "Unlocking the early evolution of land plants and their biogeochemical impact through pyritisation of their remains", grant number GR3/11196. The research was concerned with pyrite formation pathways and the understanding of the process involved in the pyritisation of organic matter. This work involved collaboration between Prof. David Rickard (Cardiff University), Prof. Dianne Edwards (Cardiff University), Prof. John Parkes (Bristol University) and Prof. Derek Briggs (Bristol University). In its initial stage I designed and constructed a novel anoxic chemostatic reaction system for the investigation of pyrite formation pathways and pyritisation of organic matter under strictly controlled environmental and chemical conditions. Using this and other experimental systems I explain the environment and mechanism involved in the pyritisation of plant axes in the London Clay (Grimes et al. 2001a; Grimes et al. 2002a; Grimes et al. 2007). Conference presentations were made at the 9th (1999, Houston) and 10th (2000, Oxford) Annual V.M. Goldschmidt Conferences.
April 2000 – July 2003: NERC Post Doctorate Research Associate at Royal Holloway University of London (RHUL). The title of the research was "Greenhouse-icehouse transitions: testing the use of oxygen isotopes in associated mammal tooth phosphate and freshwater carbonates as an Eocene-Oligocene climate proxy", grant number GRE/12864. The work required me to design a new method for determining the d18OPO4 ratio in rodent tooth enamel so as to constrain the d18O of palaeo-freshwater (Lindars et al. 2001). I have also shown how the mean d18O of palaeo-freshwater can be combined with d18O values from other freshwater proxies (gastropod shells, fish otoliths, fish scales & charophyte gyrogonites) to calculate multiple terrestrial palaeotemperatures which, due to different mineralization times throughout the year, have differing climatic significance (Grimes et al. 2003). This work has culminated in the publication of the first multiple terrestrial palaeotemperature curve (Mean Growing Season Temperature, and Mean Warmest Growing Season Temperature) across the Eocene – Oligocene transition (Grimes et al. 2005). In addition, a paper outlining the application of this multi-palaeoproxy approach to the study of terrestrial climate change in the Quaternary has been published (Grimes et al. 2004b) and a related paper using carbon isotope results to infer the palaeodiet of rodents has also been published (Grimes et al. 2004a). My research techniques have also been used by the BBC program “Meet the Ancestors; Napoleon’s lost Army: The soldiers who fell” (screened on 3/2/2003) as a forensic tool to determine the birthplace of Napoleonic soldiers. x
Roles on external bodies
1. Full member of the NERC Peer Review College
2. Member of the European Science Foundation Pool of Peer Reviewers
Committee member of the following organisations
Peer reviewed research grants for the following international funding councils
1. Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC)
2. National Science Foundation (NSF)
3. Science Foundation Ireland
4. European Science Foundation
5. Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research
Reviewed manuscripts in the following international peer review journals
2. Nature Geoscience
4. Earth and Planetary Science Letters
5. Chemical Geology
6. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
7. Journal of the Geological Society of London
8. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
9. Quaternary International
1. Earth Sciences Programme Manager from 2012 - 2016
2. Leader of the Stage 5 (Masters level) module Advanced Analytical Skills (GEOL5003).
3. Leader of the Stage 1 module Geosystems (GEOL1003).
On the 1st November 2004 I was awarded a post-graduate certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (LTHE).
On the 1st September 2008 I became an LTHE staff mentor to Dr Meriel Fitzpatrick, who went on to pass her course in June 2010.
Staff serving as external examiners
External PhD examinations
6th December 2013. External examiner at the University of Leicester during the PhD viva of Dr Sven Fred Könitzer.
16th December 2008. External examiner at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid during the PhD viva of Dr Laura Domingo Martínez.
Internal PhD examinations
22nd February 2007.Internal examiner at the University of Plymouth during the PhD viva of Dr Elizabeth Nunn.
My current research interests include
1) Stable isotope mass spectrometry
2) Reconstructing terrestrial and marine palaeoenvironments during the Cenozoic
3) Understanding past hyperthermal events and their related ocean acidification events
Research degrees awarded to supervised students
Current PhD Students
Miss Camille Dusséaux. PhD studentship entitled Stable Isotope paleoaltimetry reconstruction of the Variscan belt of Western Europe'. Funded by the University of Plymouth. Supervision team: Dr A. Gebelin and Dr S.T. Grimes
Past PhD Students
2016. Dr Mohammed Chaanda. PhD studentship entitled "Cenozoic terrestrial palaeoenvironmental change: An investigation of the Bovey and Petrockstowe basins, South West United Kingdom" Start date January 2011. Funded by the Nigerian Government. Supervision team: Dr S.T. Grimes, Dr G.D. Price and Dr M. Anderson.
2015. Dr Amadu Tukur. Visiting PhD student from the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Nigeria (Jan 2012- July 2012)
2014. Dr Hayley Manners. PhD studentship entitled "A high resolution compound specific carbon isotope study of the PETM in Northern Spain" Start date October 2009. Funded by the University of Plymouth. Supervision team: Dr S.T. Grimes, Dr P. Sutton, Prof. R.J. Twitchett & Prof. M. Hart.
2011. Dr Muhammad Hanif. PhD studentship entitled "Micropalaeontology and stratigraphy of the Palaeocene / Eocene thermal maximum of Pakistan" Started October 2007. Funded by NCEG University of Peshawar Pakistan. Supervision team: Prof. M. Hart, Dr C. Smart & Dr S.T. Grimes.
2011. Dr Melanie Bugler. PhD studentship entitled "An investigation into use of the freshwater gastropod Viviparus as a recorder of past climatic change". Started October 2006, completed March 2011. Funded by Graduate School, University of Plymouth. Supervision team: Dr G.D. Price, Dr S.T. Grimes & Dr C. Smart.
2009. Dr Timothy Kearsey. PhD studentship entitled ‘ Multi-proxy palaeoclimate reconstruction of the Permian–Triassic mass extinction event' . Started 1st October 2005, completed 26th March 2009. Funded by the Faculty of Science, University of Plymouth. Supervision team: Dr R.J. Twitchett, Dr S.T. Grimes, Dr G.D. Price & Prof. M.J. Benton (University of Bristol).
2008. Dr Laura Domingo Martínez. Visiting PhD student from Universidad Complutense de Madrid (August 2006 - October 2006 and September 2007 - November 2007). Supervisor, Prof. Nieves López-Martínez.
MGeol, MSc and MRes Student
Ms Lucy Full. MGeol 2013/14.A multi-proxy geochemical investigation into the palaeosols at Esplugafreda, northern Spain; Palaeoclimatic changes through the PETM.
Ms Charis Vale. MGeol 2013/14. A facies and stable isotope investigation of the London Clay Formation, Whitecliff Bay, Isle of Wight.
Ms Lucy Joy. MGeol 2012/13. A facies and stable isotope investigation of the London Clay Formation, Whitecliff Bay, Isle of Wight.
Ms Cara Parker. MSc 20010/11. Reconstruction of atmospheric carbon dioxide δ13C ratios across the Eocene / Oligocene transition.
Ms Leah-Marie Foster. MGeol 20010/11. A micro-palaeontological and geochemical investigation of the transition through the Reading - Harwich - London Clay formations, UK.
Ms Emma Hodgson. MGeol 2009/2010. Geochemical and palynological evidence for the Paleocene / Eocene Thermal Maximum from the Hampshire Basin, UK. Dr S.T. Grimes & Prof. M. Hart.
Ms Tracey Aze. MRes 2006/2007. MRes thesis entitled "A study of ocean acidification and its effect upon past and future foraminiferal communities". Supervision team: Dr S.T. Grimes, Prof. M. Hart & Dr. C. Smart.
Mr Gavin McIntosh. MRes 2005/2006. MRes thesis entitled "Unravelling seasonal Pliocene climates in the Mediterranean ~3.0Ma through the use of sclerochronology of Crassostrea longirostris from the Vera Basin S.E. Spain". Supervision team: Dr S.T. Grimes & Dr M. Stokes.
Mr Matthew Sharples. MSc 2004/2005. MSc thesis entitled "Testing the isotope signal from fossil Crassostrea longirostris oysters as a palaeoclimate reconstruction tool". Supervision team: Dr S.T. Grimes & Dr M. Stokes.
Nuffield Foundation Students
Miss Molly Harrison. 2014 Nuffield Foundation Research Placement for Schools & Colleges scheme. Research entitled 'Understanding past climate change events'
Mr Philip Martin. 2011. Nuffield Foundation Undergraduate Science bursary scheme. Research entitled 'A micropalaeontological and geochemical investigation of the late Paleocene / early Eocene sediments from Ermua (Northern Spain)'
Mr Robin Hayward. 2011. Nuffield Foundation Science Bursaries for Schools & Colleges scheme. Research entitled 'A micropalaeontological investigation of a past greenhouse climate event'
Part-Time Voluntary Research Assistants
Ms Melanie Bizet. Summer 2014
Ms Jo Torres. Summer 2013
Mr Phil Martin. Summer 2013.
Ms Emma Hodgson. Summer 2011
Grants & contracts
1. Awarded £396,429. NERC standard grant, with a 3 year PDRA. Project entitled 'Carbonate clumped-isotopic constraints on marine temperatures during the Cretaceous'. Start date 1st December 2012. PI: Greg Price, Co-I Stephen Grimes.
2. Awarded £68,628. Funded jointly by Plymouth University and the British Geological Survey University Funding Initiative (BUFI). PhD studentship entitled 'Palaeohydrology of a rapid climate change event at the Palaeocene-Eocene boundary'. Supervision team: S.T. Grimes, M. Ellis (BGS, Keyworth) R. Duller (Liverpool), S. Kender, (BGS, Keyworth), M. Stokes, M. Watkinson.
1. Awarded £1,440. Nuffield Foundation Undergraduate Research Bursary scheme. Funding to employ Mr Philip Martin, a stage 2 Geology undergraduate student, to undertake a project entitled 'A micropaleontological and stable isotope investigation of Late Paleocene to Early Eocene sediments from Ermua, Northern Spain'
2. Awarded £4,740. Marine Institute small collaborative research grant scheme, in conjunction with Prof. Roland Gehrels. Funding to undertake a project entitled 'Constraining the magnitude and timing of the rapid sea-level jumps associated with the 8.2ka climate event'
1. Awarded £40,304. NERC Life Sciences Mass Spectrometry Facility. Funding for compound specific carbon and hydrogen isotope analyses as part of a PhD studentship entitled "A high resolution compound specific carbon isotope study of the PETM in Northern Spain".
1. Awarded £14,030. NERC Isotope Geosciences Facilities Steering Committe. Funding for carbon isotope analyses associated with a PhD studentship entitled "A high resolution compound specific carbon isotope study of the PETM in Northern Spain".
2. Awarded ~£42,000. Graduate School, University of Plymouth. PhD studentship entitled "A high resolution compound specific carbon isotope study of the PETM in Northern Spain". Supervision team: S.T. Grimes, P. Sutton, R.J. Twitchett & M. Hart.
3. Recognised researcher on a €170,000 Spanish (Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación) funded grant. Grant entitled ‘Estudio de episodios criticos del registro geologico mediante multi-indicadores de procesos geobiologicos’. Lead investigator, Prof. Nieves Lopez Martinez, Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
1. Awarded £12,750. NERC Isotope Geoscience Facility. Funding for carbonate and water stable isotope analyses associated with a PhD studentship entitled "Is seasonal climate variability a key factor in biotic extinctions? ".
2. Awarded £19,840. NERC Life Sciences Mass Spectrometry Facility. Funding for carbon and hydrogen isotope analyses on a project entiled "Quantifying the nature of the Paleocene/Eocene thermal maximum in southern Europe".
1. Awarded £5,863. University of Plymouth Research and Innovation Fellowship Award Scheme. Funding to undertake a project entitled 'Compound specific carbon isotope analysis of terrestrial organic matter: The next generation tool for the study of climate change'.
1. Awarded ~£42,000. Graduate School, University of Plymouth. PhD studentship entitled "Is seasonal climate variability a key factor in biotic extinctions? ". Supervision team: S.T. Grimes, G.D. Price & C. Smart.
2. Awarded £2,200. NERC Isotope Geoscience Facility. Carbon isotope analyses associated with "Quantifying the extent to which the initial Eocene thermal maximum affected the continental climate of Europe".
1. Awarded £7,150. British Academy. 18 month small grant to undertake research entitled 'Nomadic or sedentary? Using oxygen and carbon isotopes in tooth enamel to ascertain the life style of a past population in Central Asia'.
2. Awarded ~£42,000 Faculty of Science, University of Plymouth. PhD studentship entitled ‘Global climate change during the Permian-Triassic mass extinction event’. Supervision team: R.J. Twitchett, S.T. Grimes, G.D. Price & M.J. Benton (University of Bristol).
1. Awarded £47,312. NERC. 2 year New Investigators Grant. Project title "Quantifying the extent to which the initial Eocene thermal maximum affected the continental climate of Europe"
1. Awarded £1,120. Royal Society. For attendance at The 9th Annual V.M. Goldschmidt Conference. August 22nd – 27th, 1999. Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
1. Awarded £2,955. Experiential Learning in Environmental and Natural Sciences CETL at the University of Plymouth. Purpose is to develop material for the practical teaching of palaeoclimatology.
Key publications are highlightedJournals
Other academic activities
Member of the Faculty of Science and Technology Student Compact Working Group.
Member of the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science web page development group.